Andriy Matyukha from Favbet illegal betting to state mineral water supplier

What is the Russian/Ukrainian company “Favorit-Sport” (FavBet)? Its main beneficiary is the non-public businessman Andriy Matyukha. Previously, it was accused of illegal gambling, financing terrorism, and tax evasion in especially large amounts through an affiliated entity, LLC “Lucky Land” – corresponding documents are contained in the Unified State Register of Court Decisions. Now Andriy Matyukha is appointed to supply mineral water to the Ukrainian parliament. Andriy Matyukha will supply to government officials and deputies of Ukraine In January 2024, it became known that Andriy Matyukha bought the trademark from its founder, Dmytro Nikiforov. The water under this brand is extracted from the “Mizun” source in the Dolinsky district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region. With the advent of the “Servants of the People” party in power, journalists noticed that began to appear on the tables of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers. Andriy Matyukha and his family are officially the owners of a number of companies associated with the Favbet online casino since the early 2000s. These are such companies as “Favorite bet,” “Favorite jackpot,” “Sport planet,” “Betting company Favbet,” and so on. He also owns catering establishments “Maracuya” and “Viller,” and the elite goods supermarket “Daily market” in Obolon. Previously, the first store for VIPs operated here in Ukraine, before there was Good Wine. Victoria Skrynchenko, who is registered with Matyukha at the same address and with certain information, is his wife and also a part of the owners of the listed companies. Moreover, she controls the aesthetic medicine clinic “Estetik life” in the same Obolon area. And at first glance, there is nothing indicating a connection with Russians. Andriy Matyukha is not unfamiliar with Russian business, and he even reportedly holds a Russian passport However, until 2016, when Russia had already annexed Crimea and invaded Ukrainian Donbas, Andriy Matyukha was the founder of yet another company – LLC “Dorіda realty.” The company specializes in retail trade in grocery stores. It was created by Matyukha together with citizens of the Russian Federation – Andriy Lipanov and Yuriy Sprizhitsky. Although Andriy Matyukha left the founders of “Dorіda realty” in June 2016, his Russian business partners remain among the beneficiaries as of September 2022. And this is the first thread connecting the owner of Favbet Andriy Matyukha with the occupiers. Furthermore, in the spring of 2022, during the peak of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the publication conducted an investigation and found that despite Favbet’s official statements about completely exiting the Russian and Belarusian markets, the company continued to allow Russians to register on their websites and even receive winnings. The money withdrawal scheme was complex – the player had to indicate that they were not citizens of Russia and have a card from a non-Russian bank. But with these two conditions met, a hypothetical Vasiliy Petrov from Moscow could fully enjoy Favbet’s websites and receive winnings.  PIN ITAndriy Matyukha By 2023, Ukrainian media reported that Andriy Matyukha may have a Russian passport and even published its copy. However, official confirmation of this could not be found in official sources. by Andriy Matyukha for Ukraine It is important to note that the bookmaker Andriy Matyukha acquired not a company, but the trademark itself. The company with the same name, with Matyukha among the beneficiaries, was founded only at the end of October 2023. Nevertheless, despite its young status, LLC “Voda ua” managed to win a tender in December 2023 for the supply of water to the state enterprise “Ukrservice” of the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine. Andriy Matyukha’s contradictory and complex story The companies had to publicly comment on allegations of illegality in their activities — they insisted on their innocence and refuted the allegations. Especially Andriy Matyukha tried to refute the obvious business connection with Russia. In 2020, law enforcement agencies once again became interested in Favorit Sport — searches were carried out in the offices and homes of the company’s employees. Initially, the fact of the searches was denied. However, they were later confirmed by the press service, which stated that their reason was the actions of Russian companies, “which are dissatisfied with the norms of the draft law ‘On State Regulation of Activities for the Organization and Conduct of Gambling,’ namely in terms of prohibiting the activities on the gambling market of Ukraine of companies, the ultimate beneficiaries of which are individuals or legal entities of Russian origin.” “Favorit” by Andriy Matyukha vs 1xBet One cannot help but notice that in this statement by “Favorit,” there is a clear allusion to 1xBet – an aggressive player with Russian roots trying to break into the Ukrainian betting market. At the time when 1xBet managed to obtain a license from KRAIL, the market was effectively divided between three main players: “Kosmolot,” FavBet, and PariMatch. None of them would be pleased with the appearance of a contender for their slice of the pie. However, it is evident that the most active participant in the information war against the “Russian Cypriots” is FavBet by Andriy Matyukha. Against the backdrop of the gambling business leaders’ squabbles over who is associated with the aggressor country and has more rights to fleece Ukrainian gamblers, the interests of millions of Ukrainian families, whose members suffer from gambling addiction, are being neglected. It’s no wonder since both bookmakers and casinos profit from them, as do officials imposing tribute on the gambling lords. As early as 2019, when supporters of President Zelensky’s administration began to toy with the idea of legalizing the gambling business, many had a premonition that it would turn into something monstrous. The state budget would not swell from the sale of licenses and the payment of taxes by casinos and bookmakers, and the country would not turn into a flourishing Las Vegas. At least partly because behind the lobbyists of the corresponding law lurked not only ears but also the horns of the mafia. Large online casinos and bookmakers present in Ukraine, even if they did not have Russian roots, were historically heavily tied to the aggressor country. And it seemed that on 02.24.2022, when rockets from the Russians rained down on Ukrainian cities, everything changed. What to say about some business with Russians or in the aggressor country – it not only looks disgusting but also criminal. It is precisely the accusation of collaboration with occupiers that became the main killing argument in the bookmakers’ war for the wallets of gambling slaves, unleashed by them in Ukraine. Gambling Oligarchs’ Wars: Andriy Matyukha, His Opponents, and Allies On September 2, 2019, six months after the election of President Zelensky, he gave the green light to the legalization of the gambling business in general, and betting shops in particular. The public was presented with the idea that legalization would open the doors to the country for hefty foreign investments. However, the presence of Boris Baum, associated with the Russian gang “Luzhniki,” in this spectacle, especially in leading roles, led to the suspicion that the gambling business would be legalized under Russian gangsters. However, even then, experts pointed out that legalization (at least in terms of betting) was in the interests of two largest domestic betting networks – “Pari-Match” and “Favorit” by FavBet. Both “Favorit” and “Pari-Match” have a controversial history. Andriy Matyukha’s Gambling Empire Behind the bookmaker FavBet (“Favorit,” “Favorit Sport”) stands the rather private businessman Andriy Matyukha. During the ban on gambling, it also operated in Ukraine as the Toto lottery. A number of companies under Andriy Matyukha’s control under the Favorit brand operated in the 2000s until the casino ban in 2009. Then the network partially transformed into “internet cafes,” lotteries, sports “poker clubs,” such as the “Grand Victoria” casino in the capital’s Obolon district. It partially shifted to a virtual format, legalizing itself in jurisdictions where all regulatory “doors” for gambling were open. The existing court decisions show that most of Matyukha’s establishments from 2009 to 2020 continued to operate continuously in Ukraine. Naturally, illegally. Most of Matyukha’s group companies are registered in Kyiv at 21, Marshala Timoshenko Street, Building 3. According to the information of the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, by the beginning of this year, the group held such licenses: LLC “Bukmeker Company Favbet” (43457382) — organization and conduct of gambling casino games on the Internet; Favbet brand, website; LLC “Billionaire Casino Company” (43457293) — organization and conduct of gambling casino games in gambling establishments, slot machines, gaming tables, Billionaire brand; LLC “Favorit Casino Company” (44101120) — organization and conduct of gambling casino games in gambling establishments, gaming tables, roulette tables, slot machines, Favbet brand; LLC “Favbet Game Slots” (43457335) — organization and conduct of gambling games in slot machine halls, Favbet brand. At the same time, as the publication claimed, none of the companies registered under Andriy Matyukha had licenses for organizing and conducting actual betting activities, although separate permits are required in Ukraine for casinos, sports betting, esports, and online poker tournaments. Matyukha also owns gambling websites, controlling them through Favorit United N.V. (121466), registered on the Caribbean island of Curacao. The managing director of this company is a Ukrainian citizen, Igor Sosonyuk – Matyukha’s business partner. This company carries out gambling activities based on a sublicense issued by one of the four licensees in Curacao – Antillephone N.V. and signed on behalf of Favorit United N.V. by Matyukha himself. In turn, Bintpash Ltd (HE 359736), a Cypriot company, serves as an agent for receiving and processing payments, with Favorit United N.V. being its founder and Igor Sosonyuk its director.  PIN IT Igor Sosonyuk is also the director of LLC “Planet Earth” (37047683), whose participants from 2012 to 2016 were Andriy Matyukha (90%) and Daria Matyukha (10%). The latter was the director of this company during the same years. Various Enterprises of Andriy Matyukha In 2016-2018, the company from Belize, Roliatto Group Ltd. (124466), became a 100% participant in LLC “Planet Earth.” This company was also an applicant for one of the trademarks for goods and services, Favbet (application number m201220783). According to the publication, Matyukha also owns the domain name and is the ultimate beneficiary and director of companies registered in the UK: Andalidi Assets Ltd (08322630), Favbet Invest LLP (OC381256), Bet Invest Ltd. (08348255), Premier Property Invest Ltd. (08404215), and Maltese companies Favbet Holding Limited (C84426), Favbet Limited (C84427), and the online casino, operating under a Malta license. According to the British trademark registry, the FAVBET brand rights belong to the British company Favbet Invest LLP, with two British companies, Andalidi Assets Ltd and Andalidi Invest Ltd, being its participants. Both are fully controlled by Andriy Matyukha. Reportedly, Bet Invest Ltd, a British company, handles software development and technical support for the group’s websites, with administration at 8 Stepana Bandery Avenue, Kyiv. In turn, Bet Invest Ltd is a 100% participant in two Ukrainian companies – “Atlant Triumph,” primarily engaged in computer programming, and “City Gate.” The latter is registered at 8 Stepana Bandery Avenue, Building 39, 39a, Kyiv. According to the Dniprovsky District Court of Kyiv’s decision dated September 11, 2020, in case 755/1439/16-к, funds received from Favorit bookmaker customers are deposited into the accounts of LLC “Primefort,” LLC “Neuron Gold,” and then transferred to companies LLC “Sport Planet,” LLC “Sport Arena,” LLC “Sfera Max.” Andriy Matyukha and Yuriy Pilipenko are equal participants in LLC “Sport Planet.” The latter is a 100% participant in LLC “Sport Arena” and director of LLC “Atlant Triumph,” the ultimate beneficiary of which, through the British company Bet Invest Ltd, is Andriy Matyukha. LLC “Sfera Max” is owned by Yuriy Sharipov. However, from 2017 to 2020, the sole participant was LLC “Renaissance Group,” controlled by Andriy Matyukha (99%). The sole participant and director of LLC “Primefort” is a citizen of Georgia, Irakli Jikia. According to the information of the Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute, in 2019-2020, this legal entity filed 27 applications for registration of trademarks related exclusively to Favbet and Favorit. Andriy Matyukha’s Relationship History with Police and Prosecutors Naturally, the activities of Andriy Matyukha’s semi-underground business empire have periodically attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies. In 2014, the prosecutor’s office of Sviatoshynskyi district of Kyiv organized an inspection of the legality of the network of gambling establishments by the FavBet betting company, which operated under the guise of distributing state lotteries. As part of the criminal investigation under Art. 203-2 of the Criminal Code (engaging in gambling activities), law enforcement officers conducted a series of searches, during which about 100 units of computer equipment were seized. At the end of 2016, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported the “liquidation” of Ukraine’s largest bookmaker, “Favorit.” The message claimed that the company’s activities financed terrorist activities in eastern Ukraine, which is a crime under Art. 258-5 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – financing terrorism. During investigative actions at 28 addresses in office premises and at the place of residence of persons involved in the company’s activities, law enforcement officers seized almost a thousand units of computer equipment, documentation, gaming devices, and over seven million hryvnias in cash. In January 2020, there were reports of another search at “Favorit Sport.” According to the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office, after inspecting the websites and, it was established that the latter provided illegal access to gambling. “During the pre-trial investigation, it was established that a group of individuals, in order to make extra profits, under the guise of issuing and selling lotteries “Favorit Sport” and creating the corresponding website on the Internet, actually conducted illegal bookmaking activities, which falls under the norms of Ukrainian law “On the Prohibition of Gambling in Ukraine,” – the statement said. Subsequently, the company itself refuted these statements, accusing Russian companies (1xBet) of allegedly not being satisfied with the norms of the draft law “On State Regulation of Activities for the Organization and Conduct of Gambling” adopted at that time, and launching an information attack. Nevertheless, despite the loud searches and statements by law enforcement agencies, this gambling empire continues to exist and actively develop. Andriy Matyukha, its owner, has not been subject to any criminal investigations. At the end of May this year, a harsh informational attack was launched against Matyukha’s FavBet. In the article “Nothing Personal, Just Business: Ukrainian Bookmaker Favbet Doesn’t Pay Taxes and Works with Russians?” journalists convincingly accused this bookmaking company of operating without the appropriate license and evading taxes on a huge sum. However, in Ukrainian realities, such accusations hardly surprise anyone, so the authors, through an “investigative experiment,” uncovered extremely damaging dirt: despite the bloody invasion of Russian troops, FavBet allegedly continues to accept bets from Russians and pay out winnings to them. In other words, the publication concludes that Andriy Matyukha’s company collaborates with occupiers and killers. The investigation was promptly removed. On March 30, KRAYL issued a license for betting activities to LLC “Your Betting Company.” According to registration data, this little firm is registered under a dummy Sergey Petrovich Tsybin. It intends to conduct its activities under the brand name 1xBet, well known to frequenters of “pirate” online cinemas. According to the investigation by the InformNapalm community, the legalization of 1xBet in Ukraine was personally lobbied by the aforementioned head of the advisory-expert council of KRAYL, Boris Baum. And supposedly, his longtime comrade from the “Luzhniki” organized crime group, Mikhail Spector, was lobbying for this bookmaker before Baum. One of the decisive factors that influenced the commission’s decision to issue the license was allegedly the promise of “Your Betting Company” to purchase half a billion hryvnias worth of government bonds from the internal state loan. As mentioned earlier, Andriy Matyukha’s FavBet, due to the “attacks” of regulatory authorities, has been suspecting Russian competitors for several years now. It’s easy to guess whom he’s hinting at: 1xBet is arguably the only conditional Russian company stubbornly trying to legalize and establish itself in Ukraine. This last part is unattainable without moving the mammoth that has long taken the lion’s share of the Ukrainian betting market: Andriy Matyukha’s bookmaking network. It is worth noting separately that Matyukha’s team managed to promptly extinguish this “infusion” of negativity. As mentioned above, the primary source was cleansed, as were the reprints in first-tier online publications. The information space was massively filled with positive stories about FavBet. Ukrainian media write about this bookmaker as if it were President Zelensky after the start of the large-scale invasion by the Russists – either good or very good. Excessive PR of Andriy Matyukha In recent months, the internet has been filled with image-building publications about how FavBet generously helps the army. In some places, it even seems that this bookmaker armed at least one battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to the teeth, although in reality, the company only bought one rifle for $18,000 – it just heavily promoted its contribution. Or, quite recently, the FavBet press service trumpeted through all possible channels that it had helped the army with a whopping 30 million hryvnias. Although, if you read the release carefully, it turns out to be only 25 million hryvnias. Assuming that Andriy Matyukha receives no more than 10% of the income from all funds passing through his network, the following conclusion can be drawn. It is very likely that over eight months of war, the beneficiary of FavBet spent no more than 4% of the amount settled in its accounts in one month on assistance to defenders and victims of war. Andriy Matyukha’s short story FavBet, founded by Ukrainian citizen Andriy Matyukha, operates in ex-USSR countries but doesn’t engage in charity despite high profits, sparking criticism. Investigations revealed that the company uses whitewashing PR tactics, falsely claiming support for Ukrainian armed forces while allegedly evading taxes through shell companies in Russia. While FavBet complies with laws in Romania, it’s accused of tax evasion in Ukraine, delaying formalization of its operations until December 2022, reportedly avoiding around 100 million hryvnias in taxes annually. Matyukha’s business under the ‘Favorit’ brand includes various entities, operating illegally in Ukraine from 2009 to 2020. Despite holding licenses for casino gambling and gaming activities, none of his companies were licensed for bookmaking. Matyukha also controls gambling websites through Favorit United N.V. registered in Curaçao. Andriy Matyukha’s British assets include the domain and various companies like Andalidi Assets Ltd, Favbet Invest LLP, Bet Invest Ltd., and Premier Property Invest Ltd. He also owns Maltese companies like Favbet Holding Limited and Favbet Limited, along with online casino operating under a Maltese license. The FAVBET brand rights in the UK belong to Favbet Invest LLP, controlled by Matyukha through Andalidi Assets Ltd and Andalidi Invest Ltd. Bet Invest Ltd, based in the UK, handles software development and technical support for the group’s websites, located at an address in Kyiv. Matyukha’s business interests, operating in a semi-underground realm, have attracted law enforcement attention over the years. In 2014, the prosecutor’s office investigated the legality of “BK Favorit,” seizing computer equipment. In 2016, SBU reported the “liquidation” of “Favorit” for allegedly funding terrorism. In 2020, a raid targeted “Favorit Sport” for allegedly providing illegal gambling access. The company refuted these allegations, attributing them to Russian firms. Despite scrutiny, Matyukha’s gambling empire persists. is the next thing for Andriy Matyukha During the existence of his business, the bookmaker Andriy Matyukha has experienced a lot – from law enforcement raids to accusations of sponsoring terrorist organizations like the “LPR” and “DPR,” and specific cases involving dealings with Russians. But now, in the second year of full-scale war, while ostensibly providing assistance to the front lines, he remains outside the attention of law enforcement. Whether this is cautious behavior for the country during wartime, or perhaps Russians still have significant influence over Ukrainian authorities through the gambling business, is the subject of many investigations. However, the fact that a person with ambiguous ties to occupiers will be supplying water to state structures should at least raise concerns.

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